The popular actor Heinz Hoenig is fighting for survival. He is in an induced coma and, according to his wife, needs a completely new main artery. What’s behind it and why the operation is so dangerous.

A shock for all film fans. As has been known since Friday, the popular German actor Heinz Hoenig (72) is in an artificial coma and urgently needs a life-saving operation. Now new details about his health have become known.

“Heinz has inflammation in his body that has spread to the entire aorta,” explains his wife, Annika Kärsten-Hoenig, in an interview with “ Bild ” (Sunday). The aorta is the main artery that transports oxygen-rich blood from the heart throughout the body – it is the largest artery in the human body.

According to his wife, Hoenig received a stent after surgery in 2012. This is an implant that ensures that no vascular occlusion occurs. Kärsten-Hoenig explains that it was damaged by the inflammation, so that blood and fluid escaped. A life-threatening situation.

This stent had already been temporarily replaced two days ago. The problem: This doesn’t last long, his entire aorta has to be replaced. “This is associated with a very high risk,” Hoenig’s wife continued. But without this operation his chance of survival would only be one percent.

According to the German Heart Center at the Charité (DHZC), the blood flow must be redirected during an operation on the aorta. This requires a heart-lung machine that takes over the pumping function of the heart and ensures that vital organs continue to be supplied with oxygen-rich blood.

What exactly is done during the operation usually depends on which segments of the main artery are affected. According to the DHZC, for example, a plastic prosthesis is used for aneurysms, i.e. a bulging of the blood vessel, and for dissections, i.e. tears.

In the case of infectious processes in the main artery or the surrounding tissue, so-called homografts, main arteries removed during organ removal, could also be used, the DHZC continues.

Depending on which area is affected, the chest cavity must be opened for the operation. For example, if the abdominal aorta is affected, the abdominal cavity must be opened. Depending on the underlying disease, there are also minimally invasive procedures.

What exactly Heinz Hoenig does is currently unknown. According to his wife, “Bild”, the procedure takes between eight and ten hours. “The operation is life-threatening,” she continues.

It is not yet known when he will have surgery. That depends on his physical condition. In addition, Hoenig does not have health insurance and the procedure costs 100,000 euros or more. A few days ago, his management had asked for donations for an upcoming heart operation.